Yue Wu: My Table Tennis Journey
Hi everyone, this is Yue Wu. I was the champion of the 2015 Pan American Championships for both teams and single events. In 2016, I took part in the Rio Olympic Games as a member of Team USA. During that same year, I also became the champion of the North American Cup. Now, I am ranked as the 46th best table tennis player in the world by ITTF. I would like to share my table tennis journey with you all.
I was born in Beijing, China and came to the US when I was 18 years old. However, I started playing table tennis when I was 8. I suffered from poor eyesight due to playing many hours of video games. At that time, one of my mother’s coworkers told us that playing table tennis can help improve eyesight and that’s how I started my table tennis journey.
From district level sport school to municipal sport school and finally to the Beijing Team, I achieved my goals step by step by my hard efforts. Nevertheless, I realized it was not only about hard work after I entered Beijing Team, it was also about many objective factors. As the old saying goes “Right place, right time”. Finally, after staying on the Beijing Team for 6 years, I was lucky enough to meet the world champion, Chen Wang. Later, in 2008, I joined her club and started my life in the USA.
It was a big culture shock for me and I didn’t adapt well to the food, culture, etc. However, after I gradually got used to it, I found that I loved New York so much. It’s the place that made my youth meaningful.
I had my big break in the summer of 2015. I am really grateful to Vivian Sun, Coach Kaixuan Ma, and Santos Shih, who played an important role in making my Olympics dream come true.
Vivian Sun used to be a team member of the Beijing Team and she became my mentor. She took me to the 2015 Pan American Championships trials without charging any fees. She and her husband even bought me the ticket. I sincerely appreciate their kindness.
Coach Kaixuan Ma is a senior writer who has been writing articles for Table Tennis World for years. He is extremely intelligent and has been making training programs for me since 2012 or 2013. He is the one who helped shape my skills and tactics.
Santos is another respected teacher of mine. In the past ten years, he has done multiple trainings with me and passed on tactics and ideas to me as well. He is so thoughtful and always takes care of me both in training and in my life outside of table tennis. He is the one who always encourages me when I doubt myself. Without his persistence and trust, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Even before my big break, I had been with JOOLA since 2011, 2012. I think that JOOLA’s equipment is very distinctive and different. It makes it difficult for opponents to adapt to. Every time there is a new product, JOOLA immediately informs me and gives me an opportunity to test it. I like working with the JOOLA team very much. They are very warm, just like a big family. If I ever have a problem, they will find a way to help. JOOLA has been with me for 7-8 years. We all witnessed each other’s growth. This team accompanied me through my ups and downs. I played Pan Am games and Olympic games. I’ve used JOOLA equipment for years and can tell all the advancements they’ve made to their products. I hope that we can work together to continue to make progress together.
If taking part in the 2016 Olympics games was the realization of my dream, taking part in the 2020 Olympics is a breakthrough. After the 2016 Olympics, I felt confused for more than a year. I always wavered between giving up and continuing to play table tennis. I felt like I should try something new since I had already realized my Olympic dream. Moreover, as many people know, playing table tennis in the US is not always a financially stable career, which means I need to devote myself wholeheartedly to it and really want to do it. My determination of playing table tennis wavered. Nevertheless, when I opened a new chapter in 2018, I felt renewed. Table tennis brings me, and all other table tennis athletes, new and exciting challenges. My belief in fighting for the 2020 Olympic games is strengthened.
In the past two years, it’s been a big challenge for me to improve both my physical fitness and my technical skills. Overcoming age and physical injuries, I will cherish every score in the events. I hope it will be my self-transformation, and I can keep developing my sportsmanship. I hope that I can continue to be an energetic player as long as I am in the court.
2019 is coming soon, this year is very important to me. I hope I can beat myself and achieve my Olympics dream once again!